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help understanding blood sugars and how they work



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BEARCLAW6
SparkPoints: (27,813)
Fitness Minutes: (15,376)
Posts: 1,939
4/5/12 8:53 A

Becky is right. What that means is that your blood sugar doesn't change much or for very long after even the most sugar-coated starching meal. But it also means that every time you eat a bunch of carbs (even whole grains) that your blood insulin levels go way up because your overworked pancreas does what it is supposed to do. Then, once your body has safely packed away all that sugar by converting it to fat or glycogen (if you just exercised a whole lot) then your body has to deal with the extra insulin by either clearing it out or making you hungry again real soon to give the insulin something else to work on. Some people experience this as being hungry an hour after eating lots of carbs while others experience it by feeling sleepy an hour after that carby meal.

This system works really well in young people, but repeat this at every meal and every snack for 45 years and people wonder what causes obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.



DIETITIANBECKY
Posts: 26,370
4/5/12 8:04 A

In a healthy adult, more carbs does not mean a higher blood sugar reading because the pancreas is able to provide appropriate insulin amount to take care of the carbs consumed and keep blood sugar in a normal range.

Dietitian Becky



CTTAGENT
Posts: 1,611
4/5/12 12:24 A

From what I have learned about blood sugar and food is that carbs break down to sugars and raise the blood sugar, thus more carbs=higher blood sugar. I have also learned that insulin is a protein, so it makes sense that protein can give better control of a diabetic's sugar levels. This is just what my mom and I have learned, even though it seems to be contradictory to what a person is told..



ANARIE
Posts: 12,318
4/4/12 9:24 P

And there's also the fact that hunger isn't the only factor in weight gain. I didn't eat too much because I was hungry; I ate too much because I really, really, really like food, and because I didn't know how many calories things had or how many calories I could use.

There's also a lot to be said about the combinations of nutrients. As Becky pointed out, protein and fiber are part of the deal. I get 65% or more of my calories from carbs, I eat meals about 6 hours apart, and I rarely feel hungry IF the carbs I eat are coming from whole grains, fruit, veggies, etc. A bowl of Kashi cereal or raisin bran keeps me going for several hours. A bowl of FrootLoops or Special K, on the other hand, holds me for about 35 seconds before I'm starving again. The fiber and protein of the whole grains combine with the carbs to keep me happy. And the worst is excess sugar mixed with fat. If I eat a bunch of frosting, for example, I will really, really pay for it the next morning!





DIETITIANBECKY
Posts: 26,370
4/4/12 6:54 P

I think this may be the key issue with your theory. Blood sugar may have some effect on hunger levels; but it is regulated by a larger extent by other factor.

Research shows that the number one calorie providing nutrient that brings about satiety is protein, it is not carbohydrates. So right there it shows that carbs which increase blood sugar levels, are not the major player in fullness and hunger.

The second main player in hunger control is fiber, which is tied to carbohydrate foods. This has to do with the gut fullness and the slowing of digestion---not blood sugar levels.

I find many flaws with the blood sugar regulating hunger. The connection, if there, is very weak. Other nutrients are more involved with hunger and satiety.

Hope this helps--
Dietitian Becky







NIRERIN
Posts: 11,720
4/4/12 6:15 P

have you ever looked at a hunger satiety scale? looking at the nuances of hunger as opposed to just hungry/not hungry might help some.
i really think the 70 hungry 120 full thing might just be the absolute great oversimplification you can make about that. sort of like how people have 98.6 degree temperatures. not everyone runs an exact 98.6, some people run a little cooler or hotter by a degree or two. but when you introduce someone to a subject, sometimes the whole history gets a little compressed and simplified, especially when something like relearning how to eat is the main focus of your lesson. it's not so much that 120 is the end all be all number for full, just when a body reaches that number, that's when the insulin is supposed to come out and round up all the glucose so it doesn't damage the organs instead of fueling them. at 70 it's not so much that you're hungry in as much as your body is lacking in fuel for the immediate future. kind of like the empty light on your car. doesn't mean you don't have any gas left, just means that something should be done about this sooner than later.

i always like to think about carbs as now fuel and protein as later fuel. most carbs digest a little quicker and are available for use first. protein takes longer to digest and becomes fuel after the carbs have all been sorted out. i'm not sure if you took chemistry in school, but when you have a lot of stuff mixed in together, you can separate it, it just takes a lot of different steps. and your stomach is like that. you digest things not only based on what they are, but in the order you ate them and relative to what else you ate and the quantities. the more stuff you have in there, the longer it can take to sort out. in other words, let's say you eat an apple for breakfast. it might take an hour to digest. if you had an apple with peanut butter it might take 2 hours to digest [and yes, entirely making up these numbers]. if you had an apple and peanut butter with steak and eggs for breakfast, it might take 3 hours to digest. it's the same general idea as a sugar cube taking longer to dissolve than a teaspoon of plain granulated sugar. the sugar cube has less surface area and takes more time to break down, even though it's basically the same thing as a teaspoon of sugar. all the foods you eat have to do that in your stomach too. they have to get broken down and then you start using them as they come ready.
in theory, if you are doing low carb in a certain way [and i vaguely recall you eating about 75 net carbs or so?] that means you're spacing out the carbs you get, and lacing fiber throughout, plus complementing that with extra protein. which means that while you might eat 25 carbs at a go, your body can handle that few carbs at once. and then the carbs that came to the party with fiber kick in [are digested enough to use], and then the protein. by lowering your carbs you're keeping them within the amount your body can handle.
ermm.. i seem to be bad at explaining today. let's pretend your body is a parking meter. and that parking meter needs to be kept going all day long. but that parking meter can only accept nickels. and for whatever reason, the mechanism that intakes those nickels is a little wheel that takes in one at a time, registers them and then lets you use them to advance the time on the meter. if the neck of the machine can only hold five nickels, that's as fast as you can put them in. so if you come back every few hours and put in four nickels, the machine can handle that. and your body is a little like that. you can handle some carbs, and especially if you pick a certain kind and space them out. it's not above and beyond what your body can handle.
and if your high morning numbers were before you were controlled it could be just that. since you had no mechanism for removing the excess blood sugar, it stayed high, even 12 hours later. basically your body could only deal with so much, and then the rest of it sat around until your body could use up a little more of it.
wait. do you watch i love lucy? ethel and lucy at the conveyor belt at the chocolate factory. as long as the chocolate is going by a nice, slow and steady pace, they can handle it. once it speeds up, havoc ensues. and the chocolate is your carbs. have a nice, slow and steady amount within the functionality of your pancreas and that whole system and you're fine and able to control it. start to challenge it and everything goes out of whack.

Edited by: NIRERIN at: 4/4/2012 (18:19)


RUSSELL_40
Posts: 16,745
4/4/12 9:52 A

Ok. I have no problem with you saying I'm broken...lol. My pancreas isn't working properly.

I was thinking how to ask this better, and here goes.. If that is how the blood sugars work..120 full, 70 empty.. then wouldn't people feel fuller when eating carbs, and on super low carb as I eat, shouldn't I be hungrier? I was on diabetes meds, and testing my blood sugars for over a year after starting low carb.. I rarely got over 100 if I ate on plan. Sure my morning blood sugar was low .. maybe 70, so I was hungry, but shouldn't I have stayed hungry till my blood sugar hit 120, or seeing as it never stopped my before, eat till I was at a 400 blood sugar?

Maybe it is also a volume thing.. my stomach is full, so I feel full ?

I get that a person who eats high carb may just have to eat 5-6 small meals, and eat as the insulin lowers the blood sugar. So I guess I am really trying to help understand why low carb worked for me. I probably shouldn't be questioning it, and just be happy, but I think it is interesting. Maybe you can feel full at 100..120 is just the max for a healthy person? Here is another question.. why did I always have a high blood sugar when I woke up 12 hours after my last meal, but now I don't? Is it because as I eat later, I keep the body from producing more glucose. I understand that my liver still produces some gucose, and maybe this happens when I go a long time with no food. Another option is that the lower carb food burns slower, and lasts longer, so I regularly stay in a range where my body gets enough glucose, but not enough tocause a lot of insulin to be released. No great jumps or decreases in my blood sugars at all. This also helps with my hunger I am guessing.

Anyways, if I don't get my blood sugar over 100, how do I feel full? Is there another part of how you feel full?



NIRERIN
Posts: 11,720
4/4/12 8:38 A

i think with diabetes part of the issue is that sensor that lets you know that you're at 120, something in that mechanism is broken, be it the sensor or the relay or the receptors or whatever other part of the process. because that's the relay that once you hit that point sends out the insulin to deal with all the excess glucose. so if you don't have enough glucose made or it's not getting triggered when you hit that full point, or whatever other bit happens not to be running properly in the system, that's when you start getting blood sugar spikes.
what controlling your carbs has done for you is by thought and process and trial and error [work by the thinking you essentially], you have started to take over that control from your body. you have learned where you need to be in terms of macronutrients so that your body processes them how it should.
if your body not producing enough insulin was the issue, you learned your tipping point and learned to eat only up to what your body could produce in insulin. you're mentally controlling what a body without diabetes does on its own.
and i really feel like a jerk for saying that something in there is off, but that's what diabetes is. diabetes is that particular system not function like it is supposed to for whatever reason that happens to be.

personally i eat high carb [generally at least 50% of my cals are from carbs] and frequently. when i try having three square meals, i can't get full enough to last me til the next meal. i eat at about 7am, 10am, 11am-1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, 9:30pm and about one roving snack somewhere in between. the other benefit to this is that i get to have a little bit of everything, which i happen to like. plus, it makes it easier for me to decide to have this right now, because i can have that other option the next time i eat. and i'm perfectly happy just eating about 200 cals at a go to accommodate the frequent eating. i'm never really hungry, nor am i stuffed. i can't say what my blood sugar is during this, though i must admit to being a little curious now.



RUSSELL_40
Posts: 16,745
4/4/12 12:10 A

When I did my diabetic training. They told me a normal person's range was 70-120. As they hit 120.. the body signalled it was full, and most people never go above it. As it drops close to 70, you feel hungry and eat.

For me, low carb worked, but I like to understand why? Is this just that as a diabetic, my system was broken, so I didn't feel full even when my blood sugar was over 500?

For a normal person, a carby breakfast should make them feel full. I could hit 120, by eating 1 orange. Is the reason they gain weight that they do feel full, but just eat sooner because their blood sugar plummets? I read a lot about people eating oatmeal, which when I was growing up was a stick to the ribs kind of meal. These people are hungry 2-3 hours later.

I am wondering if the problem is that they cheat 2-3 hours later, or if they overeat at breakfast even though at 120 blood sugar they should feel full, and stop. I know this is an oversimplified idea, but you would think that they could have oatmeal and even if they had an orange 3 hours later, they wouldn't be gaining weight, or feel hungry. It isn't that many calories, and they should have a high blood sugar, so they should feel full.

It sounds like the perfect plan, but it isn't working. Is this because the body doesn't work that way? It sounds like you shouldn't be able to overeat, if you eat slowly, and pay attention to when you feel full. All I ssem to read about is cravings, and all of these people are eating high carbs. Shouldn't they feel stuffed? Even for a few hours.



 
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